Blame it on the rain: Bellin half-marathon has backup plan in place

Statutes along the Fox River Trail in downtown Green Bay stand in water Wednesday after more...
Statutes along the Fox River Trail in downtown Green Bay stand in water Wednesday after more rain and high winds. Runners participating in the Bellin Women's Half-Marathon run on that trail Saturday morning.(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 2, 2019 at 3:41 PM CDT
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For more than 1,400 runners and countless more volunteers and organizers, the cliché 'third time's a charm' couldn't hold more true.

Despite record rainfall, they are planning for the Bellin Women's Half-Marathon and Pink Pumpkin 5K to actually take place Saturday morning.

Two other big races in our area -- the Cellcom Green Bay full marathon in May and the Fox Cities half and full marathons last month -- were cancelled because of weather.

Plans are in place to make sure this race happens, even if the course has to be changed last minute.

Wednesday's gloomy, very windy weather, followed by another inch and a half of rain since Tuesday has the Fox River in downtown Green Bay quickly swallowing the shore.

Race organizers are watching it closely.

"We've got plans in place to address all the different contingencies... flooding, wet ground, wet streets, all those scenarios," says Sean Ryan, operations director. "There's been concern, but we're also optimistic that we're going to get through this this weekend"

Wednesday morning, we could see how the high the water had been, completely covering a portion of the Fox River Trail downtown. The course runs right along there. If the water gets that high again Saturday, race officials do have plans in place to move that section of the course.

"We're in the luxurious position where we can reroute our athletes. This is not a certified Boston Marathon qualifier. It's a half-marathon and 5k, so if necessary, we can reroute our participants," says Ryan.

If that's the case, volunteers and plenty of cones would detour runners on a slightly different path around the flooded area.

"We have a pretty evolved contingency plan. We add to it every year based on experience," says Ryan.

They'll analyze everything Friday afternoon, but race director Linda Maxwell says whatever is happening, they're making sure runners are kept in the know.

"Trying to keep them apprised as we go along is really important to us," says Maxwell. "It always is, but this year, as weather is a little iffy, we're having an emphasized focus on that."

Maxwell says participants should watch social media, the Bellin Women's Half Marathon website and download the Race Joy app for updates on changing conditions.

Still, she is excited to see the event take place, showcasing each participant's ability to accomplish a half-marathon or 5K.

"I love this week and the last minute enthusiasm," says Maxwell. "This is such a fantastic event.... a way to empower and inspire the women in our community."

If there are changes to the course or with the races, Action 2 News will alert you to them right away.

Click the link for more details on the races, course, expo and packet pickup, as well as Friday's Inspiration dinner.